New therapy coming to Indiana hopes to help people with Parkinson’s disease

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Dozens of therapists spent hours Saturday learning about a new therapy to help patients dealing with Parkinson's disease.

A program called “Delay the Disease” uses a sequence of exercises to enable patients to regain some control of their bodies and lead better lives. Parkinson's can cause shaking, stiffness and trouble walking.

"It can be sudden abrupt onset, it can be prolonged process," said Dan McKinzie, the therapy and wellness coordinator for American Senior Communities.

Through the therapy program, patients work on their balance and strength.

"We repeat perfect behavior, the brain re-learns it, they get function back and they improve," said Jackie Russell, co-founder of Delay the Disease.

"We actually can teach patients to reverse symptoms, increase safety and fall prevention," McKenzie said.

Therapists spent hours seeing the program firsthand and preparing to launch it at centers around the area.

"We think it’s vital, actually," McKenzie said. "You think about the prevalence of Parkinson’s. We see a lot of related disorders. It could be post-stroke, it could be something like a brain injury. So, this applies to a wide variety of patient groupings."

Right now, more than one million people are living with Parkinson's in the U.S. The therapists who attended Saturday's training aim to bring those people hope.

"They’ve got the power over the disease rather than the disease having control over them," Russell said. "They start living their life again."

The therapy is currently used in 12 states and will soon be in Indiana through American Senior Communities.